A government official in Ghana has, at a presentation in parliament, acknowledged with appreciation the role of faith-based organizations saying they have “kept the country going.”
“The diverse support from religious groups in the fight against the viral disease is what has kept the country going,” Ghana’s Finance Minister, Ken Ofori-Atta said July 23 during his 2020 mid-year budget review in Parliament.
He explained, “Mr. Speaker, the Church of Pentecost, as a humanitarian gesture, and in keeping with recent social partnership arrangements, offered the Pentecost Convention Centre at Gomoa Fetteh as an isolation center for infected persons. Similarly, the Catholic Church released a host of its facilities located across the country to house and treat infected persons,” Mr. Ofori-Atta said.
“Faith-Based Organizations over the years have reinforced Government’s belief in their impartial mechanisms for delivering social services and interventions to the disadvantaged,” he further said.
Following the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic in the West African nation, President Nana Akufo-Addo instituted a COVID-19 National Trust Fund to support Ghanaians impacted negatively by the virus, particularly the frontline workers. Individuals, religious groups and private institutions have continued to contribute to contribute to the fund. ing to it.
Last month, Catholic Bishops in Ghana offered 13 facilities of the Church across the country as COVID-19 isolation centers upon a request from the Ghana government while the Church of Pentecost offered its 250-acre ultra-modern Pentecost Convention Centre at Gomao Fetteh, Central Region.
During the July 23 parliamentary session, Ghana’s Finance Minister acknowledged religious leaders’ intervention saying, “Churches and the Chief Imam’s Office managed the distribution of dry food provided by Government to the vulnerable in low-income areas” affected by the lockdown.
“The work of the traditional churches, Charismatic, Pentecostal Churches and our Islamic leaders continue to uphold our people,” he added.
Mr. Ofori-Atta went on to say, “Faith-Based Organizations (FBOs) continue to partner Government for nation-building through policy development and expeditious delivery of social services.”
The Collaboration was officially launched on December 10, 2019, and a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed between Government and the faith-based organizations formalizing the partnership, the Government official said.
He added, “Faith-based organizations continue to work closely with Government in critical sectors such as Education, Health, Agriculture, and Skills training.”
According to the Finance Minister, due to the successes recorded, the government will institute a Governing Council “to oversee the collaboration of the state and FBOs as they contribute to the development of a resilient and self-sufficient Ghana.”
In his 12th nationwide address on June 21, President Akufo-Addo thanked the Catholic Church and other organizations “for agreeing to the use of their facilities across the country as isolation centers in the fight against COVID-19.”
“These are timely offers, which will ensure that our overall healthcare systems are not unduly burdened and overrun,” the President of Ghana stated.
In a response letter to government’s request to offer facilities, the President of the Ghana Catholic Bishops’ Conference (GCBC), Archbishop Philip Naameh said, “The Catholic Church in Ghana has agreed to the request and willing to offer government our facilities in the various regions for use as isolation centers as our humble contribution to the national fight.”
Archbishop Naameh added, “As a Church at the national and diocesan levels, we remain committed to (assisting) the government in the fight against the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic.”